Artist Statement: Reflections of the Other
In Judaism we have the concept “The Beauty of Holiness.” The idea is to make physically beautiful the objects and spaces used in the performance of ritual. At one level, that is the essence of my work. At the simplest level, beauty enhances the emotional component of any act, and is especially beneficial in encouraging activities that are repeated often. One looks forward to using a treasured item, whether an antique handed down through generations, or an object acquired because it spoke to one’s aesthetic and emotional sensibility.
Trained as an architect, function often serves as my frame of reference. Another focus is the history of particular objects as expressed for millennia. For me, it is important that my work be connected to, and part of, the tradition of Jewish religious objects. In order to remain vibrant and personally relevant, every generation has to create its own interpretation of ritual and the associated objects.
I search traditional texts for ideas that will inspire my work, including some from Jewish mysticism. The ideas contained in those text are frequently the starting point for both functional and symbolic works. In my most recent work I am attempting to get to the heart of spiritual awareness. These pieces aim to inspire God consciousness even more than religious practice.
My work places me in an uncommon position. Religion, as a realm of human thought, speech and activity, stands apart from the rational, scientific, technology centered realm in which most of us operate most of the time. Additionally, to be born Jewish places one somewhat out of the majority culture – that is, to be “other.”